Some More Foods - The Exciting Journey of a HomepreneurJul 04, 2018
1. Some More Foods -- What is it all about?
Some More Foods is a 2013 registered company that began as an initiative to use high quality organic ingredients in delivering supplementary nutrition products using traditional methods of processing. We apply principles of nutrition to bring double benefits of balanced nutrition and organic simplicity meeting the nutritional needs of babies, mothers and elderly people.
Our product range includes Complete Health Mix, Millet Noodles, Millet Sevai under the brand ‘Some More’ and baby foods under the brand ‘First Spoon’. We are supplying our products to Organic stores in Tamil Nadu and baby foods to Babee World outlets and pediatric hospitals in and around Tiruppur. We have rebranded now and launched new products and we look forward to expand our business in other states. We are also working to have a strong online presence and exploring export markets too.
2. How did the journey of you becoming a Homepreneur begin?
After I had my son, I started making health mix powders when he turned 6 months old. I made sure that I did not buy any products from the market. I used to source organic ingredients from the local organic store and made these powders. My friends and neighbors tried the product and they asked me if I can make a fresh batch for them every month and they were ready to pay me for that. I realized that there is a huge demand for such products in the market and did some surveys and found that the market is filled with instant foods but our traditional porridge-style foods were very less. With this idea, I developed a product called ‘Complete Health Mix’, a product suitable for all ages and a brand called ‘Some More’. The organic store keeper in Tiruppur, Mr.Kathir Murugan, came forward to sell our products in his store and he became our distributor too. Through him we reached many organic stores in Tamilnadu. Babee World outlets started selling our products too. A pediatrician in my hometown, Mr.Rajasekar heard about our products and after trying our products he placed an initial order of 100 packets per month. This brought in more customers and by word of mouth our products reached more pediatric hospitals in and around Tiruppur.
I am a member of TiE, Coimbatore chapter. Last year, I attended AIRSWEEE workshop funded by the US state department for women entrepreneurs. This workshop gave me insights on marketing strategies, how to make business model canvas and helped me to understand my business better. We have rebranded and expanded our business with new products. My friends Kousalya helps me with product development and Jey Anand helps with branding.
3. Tell us about your college and family background?
My hometown is Tiruppur which is 60 Kms from Coimbatore, Tamilnadu. I did my B.S.c., Nutrition and dietetics in PSG College of Arts and Science, Coimbatore and M.Sc., Foods and Nutrition from Women’s Christian College, Chennai. After my college, I worked with Accenture, Bangalore for a while after which I got married.
Both father and my husband work for their family business.
It was my passion to venture in to food business while I was studying. Food processing classes during college days triggered my passion and it was during those days that I dreamt of have my own brand and products and to set up an industry. I always had related discussions with my friends and I am happy to have executed my dream now.
4. What is ‘First Spoon’? From when it can be introduced to the babies?
‘First Spoon’ is a complementary food for the babies that offers the best that nature gives, untouched by chemicals, from the hands of the local farmers and using the best practices followed by our ammas and grandmas to provide maximum nutrient efficiency for the babies.
Exclusive breastfeeding is recommended until 6 months of age. First Spoon can be introduced after 6 months when breast milk alone can no longer meet the growing nutritional requirements of the baby.
5. What made you start 'First Spoon'? How is it different from the other products in the market?
Market is brimming with instant baby foods but these foods undergo a lot of processing that leads to a loss of nutrients. To compensate the loss during processing, enrichment is done and to boost the number of nutrients made available in the food, additional nutrients are added by a process called Fortification. Most of the baby foods are loaded with sugars and preservatives. This really concerned me and I strongly felt that the first spoon of supplementary food given to the baby must be close to nature, free of chemicals and it should meet the growing nutritional needs of the babies. With this idea, ‘First Spoon’ was born. Positive customer feedback for my first product ‘Complete Health Mix’ motivated me to work on variations in First Spoon and currently we have 2 products in First Spoon. We use best practices followed by our mommies and grannies and all our products are processed to a minimum to provide maximum nutrient efficiency for the babies. We suggest natural fortification like adding dhal water, vegetable soups and fruit pulp. We source raw materials directly from farmers and we are able to deliver our products at an affordable cost. All our products meet FSSAI standards and we collaborate with food industries that adhere to GMP and HACCP standards to manufacture our products.
6. What kind of social barriers did you face when you started Some More Foods and how did you overcome them?
Being a first generation entrepreneur in food business, initially I did not have a great support from my family, as our family is from a conventional background. My husband had a good business running already and they thought that there was no need for me to start one on my own. Women are mostly dependant on their husbands and men are the key decision makers in most of the homes. Having said that, it is very important not to loose on one’s interests and willpower and one should work harder with persistence and perseverance to overcome the challenges. In my case, after I started proving myself with my work, my family members became very supportive.
7. Mothers seem to love your food - how did you start reaching them?
It was only by word of mouth that our product reached many mothers. Initially when we started making baby foods at home, customers came home to buy the products. Later on, when our products were made available at organic stores and pediatric hospitals, we started reaching out to more mothers. Currently, we are working to have a strong online presence and working on export markets too.
8. How important is Nutritious food to new-born babies as well as to adults?
A newborn does not require any special food because nothing can match the wholesomeness and the high nutrition quotient of breast milk. But, breast milk must be supplemented with other food from the age of 6 months to support the increasing energy and nutrient demands of the baby. The nutrition required for a growing baby must be provided in a way that the food must be a concentrated source of energy and other essential nutrients because the volume of food that a 6 month old child or for that matter a 1 year old consumes is limited. Any food that is fed to babies must be having a concentrated form of easily digestible carbohydrate, easily digestible protein and fat and naturally available vitamins and minerals.
The requirement of the elderly is also special due to the fact that the volume of food that they eat comes down due to teeth problems or other problems like gastrointestinal disturbances or just due to reduced activity. The geriatric population requires food that has a considerable amount of soluble fiber that helps in regulating the blood glucose levels, helps them have a healthy heart and a healthy intestinal environment. The food must be a good balance of good fats that provide the EFA and simple proteins close to the tradition that they have been used to.
9. Organic foods pricing is double the fold, what should be next steps for farmers/ business owners/ government to bring down the price and reach people?
Price of the organic produce should be determined by farmers only.
By reducing the supply chain between the farmers and end consumers, product cost can be reduced.
By following zero budget natural farming methods which is a self sustainable model, farmers can bring the cost of the produce down.
Increasing the demand of Organic foods will increase the supply from farmers. This can be done by creating awareness on benefits of Organic food which will encourage people to buy these types of foods.
Business owners should do trading with transparency maintained between farmers and end users.
Governments should support in marketing small and medium farmers produce and awareness of zero budget farming should be created at the farmer level.
10. Mothers are in-charge of important decisions at home right from food to the products that they buy. What is your advice to the mothers who want to switch to natural and nutritious food?
A healthy start to a day ensures a good start to the digestive system. Making healthy foods interesting and tasty is the first challenge that a mother faces and that can be easily done if she uses healthy raw materials in the first place. Whether it is healthy morning porridge or a healthy balanced colorful breakfast, her shopping basket must include a lot of naturally found food like different fruits and vegetables rather than processed ones. Healthy individuals have a healthy start in their early lives. That is why we, at Some More, strive to provide the right balance of naturally available nutrients in a convenient way, catering to babies and school going children through our brands Some More and First Spoon
11. What are your future plans from here?
In future, we want to come up with products for nutritionally vulnerable sectors like babies, adolescent girls, pregnant women, lactating women and elderly people.
12. Who is your inspiration, role model?
Not one. There are many. I always take up the good things from whom ever I meet in life. This helps me to shape up both my professional career and as a person in my personal life. I listen to many inspiring videos on YouTube to recharge myself and I learn a lot from them. I also have like-minded friends and we meet up once in a month to brainstorm our ideas and to do our best in our respective ventures. My mom who strives to give her best, my friends a great support mechanism and my awesome teachers have really shaped the way I look at life now.
13. Can you share the takeaways of your journey? What would be your advice to budding entrepreneurs?
Never ever give up on your dreams. Strive hard to make your dreams a reality.
Make health a top priority in order to show your true potential because only with a sound physical and mental health one can overcome challenges in both personal and professional life. It is important to delegate tasks to others that frees up time to do more of what you should be doing.
Be confident in yourself and surround yourself with positive energy that motivates you to overcome the challenges. Stay away from people who make you feel less. Ignore the negativity and let your work speak for you.
Keep brushing your skills to remain relevant and top of the game.
Have a clear idea on what problem your product is going to solve and make it sustainable. Stay focused. Shoulder the responsibility that you have taken up.
Have the right team and work harder with persistence and perseverance to make money with your product/service.
My favorite quote: In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.